|KILLED BY THE RSPCA|
Stan, estimated to be no older than three years old, was put down by a marksman who was called out by the RSPCA.
Stan the Stag should not have been shot dead by the RSPCA, says local farmer. Duncan Kittow, of Plainsfield Farm, Withleigh, near Tiverton, said the young buck had an unfortunate start to life and lost the lower part of a hind leg in a mowing accident at Templeton in 2009.
He said his daughter Louise bottle-fed the animal and nursed its injury.
"Although his gait was not pretty, he could clear a fence or gate with the best of his mates," Mr Kittow said.
"Stan always fended for himself, even through the snow.
"His awkward gait was noticed and the RSPCA called. Apparently Stan was viewed from a distance by the officer and a decision was made to shoot him. "Stan was obviously not wild and this should have arisen suspicion. No attempt was made to contact the owner of the field."
Stan was taken to Plainsfield Farm in June 2009, where Louise nurtured him in a small paddock until November, when he left to look after himself.
He would regularly return and approach other locals, including Louise, who would often give him a cuddle.
Mr Kittow said it would "make his day" to be greeted by Stan when checking his stock. But Stan ventured further which is when he encountered Keith Batstone, at Springfield Kitchens, Withleigh, who contacted the RSPCA over fears he was in discomforted on September 21.
Another Springfield Kitchens employee, Chris Vine, said: "We went to the RSPCA on the basis they would save the animal, not kill it. They didn't get anywhere near the animal and only looked at it from the fence."
Jo Barr, a spokesperson for the RSPCA, said "It was put to sleep to prevent further suffering as it would not have been able to fend for itself,"
She said an experienced RSPCA officer assessed the animal from around two metres away.
Staff are trained to make such decisions."